FCC asks court to push minority jobs

Move comes after January appellate ruling

WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission has asked a federal appeals court to reinstate part of a minority recruitment program designed to ensure that broadcasters improve their record on the issue.

In January, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said at least one of the FCC’s minority recruitment rules was unconstitutional and struck down the entire program.

On March 2, the FCC filed papers asking the court to put back on the books a rule essentially requiring stations to provide job openings to any org requesting them. Stations also would be asked to embrace a handful of recruitment efforts, such as training programs or hiring fairs.

Appeals court had no objection to this particular initiative.

Rule that the court struck down as unconstitutional was an FCC directive that stations collect information on race and gender. FCC could step in and insist on changes in hiring practices if minority hiring and recruiting appear to be ebbing.

FCC commissioner Gloria Tristani said the regulator should have asked the court to reinstate both rules, not just the first.

Flap over rules comes in the wake of several studies showing that minority hiring in the TV industry is dropping, both on and off camera.

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